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The Christmas and New Year period is an exciting time for football fans, and in this article, we will look back at some of the most memorable Boxing Day games in Premier League history.
Aside from derbies, many football fans look out for the Boxing Day match when their team's fixtures are announced at the start of the season.
It's a tradition of English football that goes back decades, and despite calls for festive football to be scrapped over the years, the FA and Premier League have stood firm.
There have been countless memorable Boxing Day games in the Premier League over the years, but the list below provides the best.
Most memorable Boxing Day games in Premier League history: Six of the best
Coventry 3-2 Arsenal – 1999
Coventry faced Arsenal on Boxing Day 1999 in a match that many people thought would go the way of the Gunners. Arsene Wenger's men were looking to close the gap on league leaders Manchester United, but they were already in must-win territory when they travelled to Coventry at Christmas.
Coventry had a decent Premier League team back then, with the likes of Mustapha Hadji and Gary McAllister in their ranks. On the day, McAllister and Hadji both got on the scoresheet before teenager Robbie Keane secured all three points late on. Arsenal tried to respond through Freddy Ljungberg and Davor Suker, but it was too little, too late, and the Sky Blues enjoyed a famous victory.
Bolton 4-3 Newcastle – 2002
Bolton and Newcastle played out a 4-3 Christmas cracker on Boxing Day 2002. Sam Allardyce was building a reputation for himself as a top Premier League manager at this point while Sir Bobby Robson managed Newcastle.
Bolton soared into a 4-1 lead at the Reebok Stadium to send their fans into dreamland, but Newcastle weren't prepared to roll over, especially as thousands of Newcastle fans had made the long journey down to Bolton at Christmas time.
Shola Ameobi made it 4-2 via a deflection before Alan Shearer scored from distance to set up a nervy finish.
🏡 #StayAtHome Favourites. ⚽️
3⃣ | A Boxing Day goal-fest vs. @NUFC [26th December 2002].
— Bolton Wanderers (@OfficialBWFC) April 8, 2020
Chelsea 4-4 Aston Villa – 2007
Arguably the most memorable Boxing Day game in Premier League history came at Stamford Bridge in 2007. Shaun Maloney scored two first-half goals to give the visitors an unlikely 2-0 lead heading into half-time, but Avram Grant's Chelsea responded well and had flipped the game on its head by the 66th minute.
Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, Aston Villa fought back and levelled the match at 3-3 via a Martin Laursen header before Michael Ballack made it 4-3 to the Blues in the 88th minute. Just when everyone thought the drama had finished, Ashley Cole handled the ball in the penalty area and Gareth Barry stepped up to make it 4-4.
Manchester City 5-1 Hull City -2008
In 2008, Manchester City welcomed Hull City to the Etihad Stadium (then known as the City of Manchester Stadium), with both teams facing a relegation battle. City had only just been taken over by Abu Dhabi United Group but found themselves in the drop zone at Christmas, which made this a match of huge importance.
City put in an emphatic performance, defeating Hull 5-1 thanks to goals from Robinho, Stephen Ireland and Felipe Caicedo. But the action on the pitch isn't what makes this game so memorable, but rather what Hull City manager Phil Brown did at half-time.
Unhappy with his team's performance, Brown gave his team talk on the pitch in front of the away end in incredible scenes.
A year later in the same fixture, Hull player Jimmy Bullard mimicked the team talk in a goal celebration after netting against the Blues at the same end.
When Phil Brown conducted his half-time team talk on the pitch. pic.twitter.com/Kgc4yFZrXM
— Sky Sports Retro (@SkySportsRetro) January 1, 2021
Manchester United 4-3 Newcastle – 2012
Sir Alex Ferguson's final Boxing Day match as Manchester United manager was always destined to be a classic and that's exactly what it was. United were pulling away from City in the title race but couldn't afford to show any signs of weakness after blowing a large lead to their city rivals a season prior.
Alan Pardew's Newcastle led the match 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2, but a famous late United comeback broke the hearts of the travelling Geordies. Robin van Persie, that season's Golden Boot winner, made it 3-3 before Chicharito scored a dramatic winner in stoppage time to send the United fans home with a spring in their step. The victory helped the Red Devils to their 20th League title.
Hull City 2-3 Manchester United – 2013
A year later, the feeling around Manchester United had changed quite dramatically. The winning juggernaut that had dominated English football for two decades was no more and they were struggling for form and points under David Moyes.
On Boxing Day 2013, they found themselves 2-0 down to Steve Bruce's Hull City after just 13 minutes. The United players' professional pride kicked in, and they quickly turned the game around via a Chris Smalling header and a stunning Wayne Rooney volley to ensure they went in level at the break. James Chester then scored an own goal to give the visitors all three points.